iPhones hate helium

The bad news is that, due to the sheer tininess of certain components, iPhones are particularly vulnerable to going haywire in the presence of helium. The good news is that helium just isn't a problem you run into often.

Sure enough, Apple’s user guide for the iPhone and Apple watch admits this is a problem:

“Exposing iPhone to environments having high concentrations of industrial chemicals, including near evaporating liquified gasses such as helium, may damage or impair iPhone functionality. … If your device has been affected and shows signs of not powering on, the device can typically be recovered. Leave the unit unconnected from a charging cable and let it air out for approximately one week. The helium must fully dissipate from the device, and the device battery should fully discharge in the process. After a week, plug your device directly into a power adapter and let it charge for up to one hour. Then the device can be turned on again.” (Emphasis added.)

Read the rest

Porno malware infestation hits U.S. Geological Survey

A single smut-addicted official at the US Geological Survey led to an IT crisis there, according to an official report, with visits to more than 9000 porny URLs resulting in a malware infestation. The recommendations? Filter the web, and plug those damned USB ports.

Correction: More than 9000 sites, not 9000 infections. Read the rest

Alt-right social network Gab down after website, domain registrar and own tech chief abandon it

Social network Gab was the online sanctuary of Robert Bowers, the antisemitic killer of 11 Jewish people in Pittsburgh. Gab lost its payment processors Paypal and Stripe over the weekend. On Tuesday, it loses its webhost, Joyent. Godaddy, its domain name registrar, gave it the boot on Sunday. Gab co-founder Ekrem Büyükkaya, who once wrote that he'd be the first to leave if the site was seen to be right-wing, left Sunday.

The Washington Post reports on the origins of white supremacy's online hangout.

Gab is more than a platform. It’s also positioned itself as a key figure in the right-wing response to online crackdowns of extremist views, and has benefited directly from the white supremacists who flocked to Gab on the promise that their views would not be censored, according to Joan Donovan, the media manipulation and platform accountability research lead at Data and Society, who has followed the site’s growth.

Torba has become a charismatic leader of the “alt-tech” movement which, among other things, dedicates itself to protecting and building tech to house “free speech” — including extremist ideologies that are increasingly unwelcome on mainstream sites. When James Damore was fired from Google in 2017 for writing a viral memo about women in tech, Torba capitalized on the case’s media attention to promote an “alt-tech revolution,” where conservative tech workers would rise up and topple Silicon Valley giants. Gab, of course, would be there to take their place.

Gab complains:

Gab.com is under attack.

Read the rest

Google to charge hardware makers up to $40 per device for Android mobile apps

Google [Alphabet Inc.] will soon charge hardware companies up to $40 per device to use Google apps, under a new licensing plan that will replace one struck down by the EU earlier this year as anti-competitive, reports Reuters. Read the rest

Instagram's bullying, stalking, and harassment crisis

Twitter gets well-deserved attention for online harassment, but know who else has a huge problem there? Instagram. Big time. Read the rest

USPS says Amazon should pay 9-12% more for shipping, after Trump criticizes USPS for not charging Amazon more

The United States Postal Service (USPS) wants to raise the fees it charges Amazon.com and other internet commerce shippers by 9 to 12 percent. This comes just months after President Donald Trump criticized the USPS, saying it gives Amazon too good of a deal. Read the rest

Intel accused of commissioning rigged CPU benchmarks

Intel reportedly published rigged benchmarks designed to make its new i9 chips look better than the competition, while holding tech media to an embargo on publishing reviews or independent tests.

Intel — or to be precise, a company Intel hired to create a whitepaper on Core i9 gaming performance — has crossed that line. According to Forbes, Intel contracted with Principled Technologies to distribute a whitepaper containing various claims about gaming performance between Intel’s upcoming Core i9-9900K and Core i7-8700K and the AMD Threadripper 2990WX, 2950X, and Ryzen 7 2700XSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce. With AMD having surged into competitive positioning in the past 18 months and Intel taking heat from its 10nm delays, Chipzilla has every reason to push a narrative that puts it in the driving seat of gaming. But Intel is using this whitepaper to claim that it’s up to 50 percent faster than AMD in gaming based on Ashes of the Singularity in particular, and that’s where the problems start. The Intel results are somewhat higher than we’d expect, but the AMD CPUs — particularly the Ryzen 7 2700X — are crippled.

The wheeze, as described, is simple enough: the AMD-based test rig was thrown together with stock parts and inappropriate software settings, whereas the Intel system was rigorously customized and optimized, with this fancypants $70 cooling fan installed. Then they restricted tests to settings and resolutions that favor Intel's chips.

Intel seems to be in more trouble than it's been in for years. As for the press, when we honor embargos after finding another source for the news or finding out that it's bullshit, it's not really an embargo: it's just an NDA, and we're doing PR work for free. Read the rest

Tesla's Elon Musk is at it again with the stupid tweets

The value of Elon Musk's Tesla Motors dropped about $1.1 billion after the close today. When will he, and the adults around him, learn?

Welp. Friday at Tesla and at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission should be interesting. Have fun with that, Board of Directors and SEC officers. On Thursday afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, we regret to inform you that Elon Musk is at it again with the crazy tweets. Read the rest

Mobile speed displays are filming plates and faces

Justin Rohrlich warns that those mobile trailer-mounted signs displaying your MPH are also recording number plates and taking photos of the driver and passengers. The cameras are being retrofitted to existing models. Read the rest

Amazon eliminating monthly bonuses & stock awards to help pay new raises for warehouse workers

Amazon is eliminating monthly bonuses and stock awards for warehouse workers and other hourly employees, apparently to help pay for raises. The internet retail giant pledged earlier this week to raise pay to at least $15 an hour. Read the rest

Some iPhone Xs and Xs Max owners are having problems charging their new handsets

When you pay 1,000 bucks for a thing, it'd be nice if it, you know, does what it's supposed to. In the case of a smartphone, that means taking calls, accessing the Internet, taking great photos, downloading apps--the usual. Arguably, none of these abilities baked into our pocket computers is as important as its being able to recharge its internal battery. If the battery don't work, all else don't work. Guess what? There are a number of reports that Apple's new iPhone XS and XS Max have batteries which, in many cases, don't work.

Tech vlogger Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy has the goods on the issue, which he illustrates by using a multitude of new iPhones:

These sorts of issues aren't unique to Apple's iOS devices (remember AntennaGate?) or Android hardware (the display falling off of my Blackberry a few years back was powerful fun). However, when folks are forking over a good chunk of their monthly income to pick up what they believe to be a premium device--and according to the reviews of the iPhone XS and XS Max they are very luxe in the functionality and feels department--it's a reasonable expectation that hardware works right out of the box. Sure, minor glitches are to be expected with a complicated piece of hardware like a smartphone. There's a lot going on inside of them. But something as basic and as important as it not being able to charge under certain circumstances is too huge a quirk to easily forgive. Read the rest

Facebook: 50 million users’ personal information exposed in mega breach

Facebook says an attack on its network left the personal information of some 50 million users—perhaps you?—exposed to hackers. Who were the hackers, and what did they want? Facebook doesn't know, or won't say. But the company has confirmed that execs Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sanders were among the users affected.

“We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you,” Zuckerberg said about Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year.

Well. You heard the man. Read the rest

Google changed the settings on Android phones without their owners' permission

A decade ago, Steve Jobs admitted in an interview that Apple had the means to remotely kill core functionalities and apps on iOS devices. Apple purportedly made this possible to ensure that their hardware could not be taken over with malicious apps. I remember being very not OK with this, at the time. But over the years, I completely forgot about it.

Until this week.

From The Verge:

Yesterday a mix of people who own Google Pixel phones and other devices running Android 9 Pie noticed that the software’s Battery Saver feature had been switched on — seemingly all by itself. And oddly, this was happening when the phones were near a full charge, not when the battery was low. As reported by Android Police, initially it was assumed that this was some kind of minor bug in the latest version of Android, which was only released a few weeks ago. Some users thought they might’ve just enabled Battery Saver without realizing.

But it was actually Google at fault.

The company posted a message on Reddit last night acknowledging “an internal experiment to test battery saving features that was mistakenly rolled out to more users than intended.” So Google had remotely — and accidentally — changed a phone setting for a bunch of real-world customers.

Not cool.

Sure, you can argue that it was an honest mistake made by Google's OS development team: they hadn't meant to screw with Android Pie users' handsets. Hell, as soon as it happened, Google hit the interwebz to admit to the mistake. Read the rest

iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max: A Closer First Look [PHOTOS]

At the big Apple Event in Cupertino today, the iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max were touted as 'the best and biggest displays' yet for iPhone. Read the rest

Apple iPhone XR: A Closer First Look [PHOTOS]

At the big Apple Event today in Cupertino, a new iPhone was revealed. Here are official photos we received from Apple, for a closer look. Read the rest

Apple's new iPhones: Xs, Xs Max, and Xr. Pre-orders start Friday. (photos)

Apple's big launch event took place in Cupertino today, and here are the big products to track: iPhone Xs, Xr, Xs, Max, and the Apple Watch Series 4. Pre-order begins this Friday. Read the rest

'IG Shopping'? Instagram is building a dedicated shopping app, per reports

There will be a new Instagram app sometime soon that's all about shopping, reports The Verge. Read the rest

More posts